AGNES has been on a bit of a PR drive lately.
The MIT AgeLab-developed AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) has been around for a while but the torrent of recently publicity, plus it’s specific focus on physiological ageing, has prompted me to blog about it for the first time. It’s not the only age-suit, the Japanese have been using similar ‘aids’ for quite a while.
Regardless, here’s a really good clip from NBC’s Today program that explains it all.
Basically, AGNES is a suit worn by students, product developers, designers, engineers, marketing, planners, architects, packaging engineers, and others to better understand the physical challenges associated with aging. Developed by AgeLab researchers and students, AGNES has been calibrated to approximate the motor, visual, flexibility, dexterity and strength of a person in their mid-70s. AGNES has been used in retail, public transportation, home, community, automobile, workplace and other environments.
I could be cynical and say that designing for older people could easily be done (or at least tested) BY older people, but if this helps the world become more age-friendly, I’m all for it.
The 20 Effects of Ageing scrutinised in our SilverAudit cover all the aspects addressed by AGNES, plus a lot more. Things that AGNES ignores, for example, are the senses of smell and taste. The cognitive issues related to complexity and comprehension are also overlooked.
But it’s novel. Long live AGNES!